Thursday, October 15, 2015

As Always, Be Careful What You Ask For...

We knew that we wanted to do some hiking in the mountains. And we knew that we didn't want to go when it was icky-sticky hot and overly-crowded. So we waited until early October, that Indian summer time.

But we sure weren't expecting to be hiking in the snow. Trust me, it's one sure-fire way to learn whether your boots are waterproof (His, yes. Mine, not so much).

But L.A. had gotten rain (L.A.? Rain? They don't "get" rain), which meant snow on the trail to Bishop Pass. And although the hiking was slow, it still was a great time.

So if LA can get rain, don't you think it's time we got some?

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Volunteers of Oakland #4

Pretty much these days, littering is uncool. Except for cigarette butts. Relatively neat and tidy people who would never leave trash behind simply do not recognize cigarette butts as trash. So they leave the damn butts all over the sidewalks and streets. And parks. And beaches. And everywhere else, for that matter.

(I remember on a recent visit to Rome, looking down at the gap between the platform and the train and noticing that the entire area was completely packed with cigarette butts, to the depth of, say, two feet. No smoking on the train, but on the platform, one last puff.)

So what, right? They're not that big, and many fewer people now smoke. Sadly though, cigarette butts - an estimated 120 billion of which are discarded in public places in the U.S. alone - contain a toxic stew of chemicals, plastics and carcinogens. In short, "Yuck." Bad for us, but even worse for birds and aquatic animals.

Enter my neighbor Poppy (7 years old) and her friends. It might be called activist art - but she simply said that she liked making them: two for our block, and a few more around the neighborhood.

And, hey, it seems to be working.